Who am I? Where is it? What can you expect?
Through my job as a professional sailor, I have had the chance to travel to a lot of great places. I have been to the Caribbean’s, explored the coasts of the Mediterranean, and voyaged across the South Pacific. While visiting this latest, I came to a country that stole my heart: The archipelago of Vanuatu!
Vanuatu is a string of islands half-way between Fiji and New-Caledonia that are not as well-known and thus less crowded with tourists. The locals, called Ni-Vanuatu, are always smiling and are a warm and welcoming people. The tropical vibe is always present with flowers blooming everywhere, and with the smells of the ocean breeze, sunshine, and hot sand. Port-vila its capital and port of entry is situated on a central island called Efate.
As I vacationed there with my girlfriend, we used the Bellevue Ecolodge as a base from which we could go on discovering the country, and could come back to after such joyous days.
The place is composed of three villas, and a guest house built in the colonial style, set in the most luxurious garden I have ever set my eyes upon. The buildings are seamlessly integrated within the scenery, and are surrounded by fruit-bearing trees that are so easy to pick! It’s wonderful!
Where you learn about logistics, the lovely managers, and the marvelous surroundings.
Arriving at the airport we were greeted right there and then by the owners who arranged a car to come pick us up and our luggage. They are a charming couple who will do anything they can and then some more to arrange for your stay.
If you know where you want to go next they will advise you on good deals, put you in contact with the appropriate people and share with you all their experience and love for that country. If you’re going at it a bit more freestyle, they’ll help you plan your trip so as to not miss any opportunities and will guide you through it all to make it effortless.
When we reached the lodges, we were blown away by the beauty of their property. The ground is gently sloping down at the top of an overlooking cliff just ten minutes outside downtown Port-Vila and has a breath-taking view of the green outback. The little road that snakes towards the parking spot at the bottom passes along a meditation area, a garden filled with fresh produce, 3 cascading swimming pools, and a barbecue and games area.
Needless to say, we jumped straight away into things by splashing in the swimming pools. The water was at the perfect temperature, clear and refreshing. We ended up staying in all afternoon and even enjoyed an evening sipping a cocktail while gazing at the stunning unmarred sky surrounded by the soothing song of nature’s night-life.
The 5 places you have to visit while in Vanuatu.
The following morning we started our adventures in this preserved paradise. We went around a lot and stayed around a month at the end of which we were still experiencing new wonders. Seeing that it would be too long in this single article to describe them all we have selected for you a top 5 of the must-do attractions.
-The Yasur Volcano and Tanna island Experience :
The Yasur Volcano stands on a neighboring island called Tanna. A weekend expedition over there might just as well be compulsory considering how awesome it is! Front row seats to the planets fireworks easily arranged with the help of Sabine and Gerard.
-The Vanua Fire Show :
For a once in a lifetime night experience we absolutely recommend attending the Vanua Fire Show. On Friday night, the very first thing you want to plan with Gerard and Sabine’s help (before going out to eat or party) is finding your way to the Mélé Beach Bar where is hosted one of the best fire dancers’ performances in the world!
-The waterfalls: Mélé, Rentapao, and Lololima :
The pristine waters and lush rainforest of Vanuatu are best displayed at these three well-tended to and accessible cascades. You will find there great places to relax, have fun, and sunbath. You can climb to the top of the chutes and then follow the streams for a jungle-like experience, or hang around the natural pools and jump from the surrounding rocks, trees or swinging ropes!
-Snorkeling at Hideaway and Erakor:
The islet of Hideaway stands just 500 meters off the east coast, and is home to a rich collection of coral reefs, multi-colored fishes, and the first underwater post office!
Erakor is another one, standing in the first lagoon where there is less fauna, but more water sports.
-Round the island trip / Blue Lagoon stop :
The road leaving the capital goes full-circle around the comparatively small island of Efate and you can go on a day trip with a bus, rental car or quad bike and enjoy a variety of spots sprinkled along the way. My personal favorite is maybe one of the first (from the usual starting point), the blue lagoon. A sandy bottomed, blue hole, filled with a mix of fresh and sea water, surrounded by trees. Picnic tables, swinging ropes, and access ladders have been set and make it family friendly.
The services, amenities, and gifts the family has to offer.
During all our days at Bellevue Ecolodges, we were cared for with kindness, and friendliness. Our every need catered for. Before we even set foot on the plane, the owners had been in contact with us arranging in advance for a customized grocery stock. Every day hence, the lovely house cleaner, Caroline, would come and do a bit of tidying up and refreshing. She brought fresh fruit from the garden, home-made jams, and fresh eggs from a resident couple of hens along with her bright smile. All was done to make us feel at home and in the company of dear family members! The inside decoration is a ravishing display of taste and makes you want to bring it wholesale back home when you leave. You could easily stay a full week just relaxing and enjoying the freedom and pleasures the complex has to offer.
When it’s time to say goodbye and your only thought is: ”When can we come back?”
Finally, all good things must come to an end. We embraced our hosts tenderly with our batteries recharged and full of good energies. Wondrous memories deeply etched in our hearts we went back in the real world or at least that is how it felt after such privileged times. We had spent in this earthly paradise an unforgettable vacation. As we landed back home, we looked at each other and we knew what we had to do: focus all our efforts on building up our lives and financial means to come back and maybe… even stay!